Inconsistency at QB a constant in Auburn’s spring

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Before the start of spring practice, Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn had hoped that the quarterback issue would be settled and a No. 1 at the position would emerge at some point during the spring.

Exiting the spring with the playing of the A-Day game and just one practice session remaining Monday, the defending national champs are no closer to having an answer as to who will replace Heisman winner Cam Newton.  In fact, there may be more questions now than there were back in March.

Continuing a trend that’s been one of the themes woven into the spring, both Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley, the two main combatants for the starting job, sprinkled in a handful of big plays amidst what was mostly uneven play during a spring game dominated by the defense and new faces.  And, suffice to say, neither player grabbed the job by the throat as Chizik intimated it will be August before a starter is named.

“Until we know who gives us the best chance to win and it’s 110 percent, we won’t make the call,” Chizik said. “The first year we were here we didn’t make the call. Last year, we did it a week after. It’s just like any other position, when we’re 110 percent certain sure we’ll do that.”

While Chizik said he’s fine with the fact that a starter hasn’t emerged, he lamented the inconsistency that’s plagued both players this spring.

“Very similar in nature,” head coach Gene Chizik said when asked about the two players currently vying to become the starter. “The thing that stands out the most after 14 practices is the inconsistency of both of them. We’re trying to find somebody who can manage the game and manage the team.

“There were some open balls we had today that we missed.”

In other words, get ready for your closeup, Kiehl Frazier.

Frazier, the No. 5 dual-threat QB in the country this year, will join the competition this summer and, according to some who would know, appears poised to make a serious run at the job.  Based on the reports coming out of The Plains throughout the spring, such a situation would appear to be more than a mere pipe dream or wishful thinking.

It wasn’t all gloom and doom for the Tigers, however.  The defense has reportedly been a bright spot this spring — although that could be a byproduct of the offense’s struggles — and that trend continued Saturday.  Additionally, stud running back Michael Dyer (in very limited action) and several other key returnees made it through the game without the need for an MRI and/or an X-ray.  The latter was a point noted by the head coach in his postgame assessment of the program’s current status.

“Overall, we got out the game healthy,” Chizik said.

Based on the massive amount of turnover and roster upheaval facing AU this offseason, the importance of the health factor cannot be understated.  And neither can the fact that the Tigers need someone, anyone, to grab the reins of the offense and take over sooner rather than later.

Mario Cristobal reportedly reuniting with former assistant in Eugene

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The Oregon coaching staff is going to have a specific South Florida flavor to it. Head coach Mario Cristobal is a Miami native, a former Hurricanes player and assistant, and the former head coach at Florida International. On Tuesday, Cristobal moved to bring a fellow South Floridian with him to the Pacific Northwest.

According to Grant Traylor of the Huntington (W. Va.) Herald-Dispatch, Marshall offensive line coach Alex Mirabal is leaving the staff to reunite with Cristobal in Eugene.

Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman added Mirabal will work under Cristobal, who will handle the offensive line.

Mirabal is also a native of Miami and a Florida International graduate. He spent the first decade-plus of his career working in Miami’s high school ranks before joining Cristobal’s FIU staff as tight ends and later offensive line coach from 2007-12. He landed at Marshall in 2013 after Cristobal was forced out at FIU, where he remained until Tuesday.

Under Mirabal’s guidance, Marshall finished fourth nationally in sacks allowed at just 0.85 per game. Oregon finished 54th nationally in that same metric.

Trio of players transferring from Missouri

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As we trudge deeper into the college football offseason, roster attrition across the sport has shown no signs of slowing down.

It was confirmed Tuesday that three players have decided to take their leave of the Missouri football program.  Two of the departees are defensive backs (redshirt freshman Jerod Alton, redshirt sophomore TJ Warren) while the other is a wide receiver (redshirt junior Ray Wingo).

All three of the transferring players were three-star recruits coming out of high school.  Wingo, who moved to receiver after his redshirt season in 2014, was the highest-rated of the group, with 247Sports.com pegging him as the No. 24 cornerback in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Missouri.

After catching five passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2016, Wingo didn’t record a reception at all in 2017.  He’ll finish the Mizzou portion of his playing career with 167 yards and those two touchdowns on his nine receptions.

Warren played in 18 games the past two seasons, including six last year.  He started one of those games, with that coming during the 2016 season.

Alton took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.

LOOK: Minnesota unveils new uniforms for 2018

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If you’re into college football fashion — not that there’s anything thing wrong with that — today’s your lucky day.

At a team meeting Tuesday morning, Minnesota unveiled to its football players the new uniforms they will be wearing this coming season. Per the school’s release, “[t]he Gophers introduced three new jerseys (Maroon, White and Anthracite), three helmets (Maroon, White and Gold) and four pairs of pants (Maroon, White, Gold and Anthracite) to choose from next season in addition to an ever-changing array of shoes, socks, facemasks and other accoutrements.”

All told, the Gophers will have more than 100 different uniform combinations at their disposal.

Reflecting head coach P.J. Fleck‘s “row the boat” mantra he brought over from Western Michigan, two of the new helmets will feature an oar running down the middle of the lid, front to back.

Below is a brief look at the new duds the Gophers will wear in 2018.  For the complete fashion array, click HERE.

Michigan makes hiring of Jim McElwain official

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After a week’s worth of speculation and reports, the newest member of Jim Harbaugh‘s coaching staff is officially on board.

Tuesday afternoon, U-M confirmed that Harbaugh has completed his staff with the hiring of Jim McElwain.  The former Florida head coach will serve as U-M’s wide receivers coach, his first time as a position coach as his sole responsibility since he was the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders in 2006.  On two other occasions, with Louisville from 2000-02 and again at Michigan State from 2003-05, McElwain was responsible for receivers at a Power Five school.

There has also been chatter that McElwain, the former offensive coordinator at Alabama, could take over play-calling duties, although that aspect hasn’t yet been addressed by the football program.

“I am excited to work with this offensive staff and Coach Harbaugh,” said McElwain in a statement. “There are a lot of great offensive minds in that coaching room and I look forward to learning from them.”

McElwain interviewed for the job earlier this month and, not long after, it was reported that McElwain was a “strong contender” for a position with the Wolverines.  Offered the job late last week, McElwain reportedly agreed to join the program this past weekend.

Under the direction of offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, Michigan’s offense was tied for 91st nationally in averaging 25.2 points per game this past season.  It’s that subpar performance offensively that has some pointing to McElwain as a very likely candidate to over calling plays.

In his three seasons at Florida, however, the Gators’ offense finished 109th (22.1 ppg, 2017), 107th (23.9 ppg, 2016) and 99th (23.2) in scoring.  Those numbers were with McElwain as head coach; calling plays at Alabama under the notoriously conservative Nick Saban from 2008-11, the Crimson Tide’s numbers went…

2008 — 30.1 ppg, 35th nationally
2009 — 32.1 ppg, 22nd
2010 — 35.5 ppg, 18th
2011 — 34.8 ppg, 20th